Shocked by snub, YTL Comms claims Education Ministry went back on tender offer

YTL Communications claimed the Education Ministry reneged on its promise to call for an open tender to provide the services to some 10,000 schools nationwide. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
YTL Communications claimed the Education Ministry reneged on its promise to call for an open tender to provide the services to some 10,000 schools nationwide. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Communications company YTL Communications expressed “complete surprise” over its exclusion from the award for interim Internet connectivity services at Malaysian schools that went to three other Internet service providers (ISP)

It claimed the Education Ministry reneged on its promise to call for an open tender to provide the services to some 10,000 schools nationwide. YTL has been providing the services since 2011, with their contract set to expire on July 1.

“In July last year, the ministry announced that they will be calling for a fresh tender by early this year to continue providing Internet connectivity,” it said in a statement.

Following repeated inquiries by YTL on the status of the tender, on April 23, the ministry invited several ISPs including YTL, Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata, Maxis, and others to a meeting.

There, the ISPs were informed the ministry is not yet ready for the tender of implementation, and that it could be delayed for another six months.

“During this time the 10,000 participating schools would continue to require interim Internet services. The ministry requested we provide free services as the government did not have the budget to pay for them,” it said.

YTL said it wrote on May 31 to Education Minister Maszlee Malik to confirm it will provide the internet services for free to the schools during this time, until the tender is called and awarded.

“Our primary concern was to ensure teaching in schools was not disrupted in the middle of the school year. Unfortunately, we did not receive any response to our offer,” it said.

YTL said this is the main reason for its surprise upon discovering the ministry had awarded the interim services to Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata and Maxis.

“The ministry had excluded YTL Communications, and agreed to pay for the internet services to the 3 appointed ISPs although we had offered the services for free.

“While we were still seeking clarity, we were again shocked to learn on 28 June 2019 of a post that, perhaps not coincidentally, appeared on the Facebook page of ‘Friends of Maszlee Malik’ that gave seven reasons why the 1BestariNet project should be terminated.

“This article, which may have been using the minister’s name without his knowledge, contained points which we deem as false and slanderous,” it said.

YTL added that since then, there have been a series of media and news reports which have been misleading and have cast a negative light on the company.

“We are also disturbed by misrepresentations, both in the media and in semi-official exemplifications, which inaccurately represent events that led to the appointment of Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata and Maxis replacing YTL Communications as the providers of interim internet services from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019,” it said.